While children of today have their favorite looter shooters, 90s to 2000s kids have JRPG etched within their hearts. It is practically impossible not to fall in love with the genre growing up in those times. Nevertheless, the genre is still thriving thanks to the likes of the Persona series and the ever-growing Final Fantasy franchise. It has withstood the test of time and is seemingly as strong as it has ever been. So, how do such games make a great impact on gamers’ lives? What are the things that make a great JRPG? Read on as we answer just that.
The Unique Art Style
Japanese role-playing games or Japanese RPGs almost always have a distinct art style. If they aren’t downright anime, they employ the trademark Japanese visuals. This includes zany and colorful hairstyles, cool and artistic costumes, and over-the-top weapons. Unlike the RPGs in the West, JRPGs focus more on making their art style pop out instead of emphasizing realism.
With all that being said, the art of great JRPGs will stick with you for as long as it can. That is the precise reason why, even after all these years, we still remember exactly how Sephiroth and Cloud look. By disregarding realism to some degree, great JRPGs can make timeless looks that captivate generations of fans.
The Unforgettable Cast of Characters
This one is influenced by the previous entry as well. How we, the gamers, perceive certain characters rely heavily on how they look—even if we admit it or not. If we don’t like their character designs, we tend to not be invested in them as well.
However, what makes them stick with us is how they are portrayed in the game itself. This includes their background stories, their motivation in fighting, and so much more. Great JRPGs take the time to flesh out each character it introduces. Their character development should be strong enough that almost all of them can easily become the main character.
The Robust Battle System
While JRPGs are mostly known for their turn-based combat, the genre has also dabbled in other systems over the years. Great JRPGs find a way to mix and match all these approaches to come up with a single robust battle system. Of course, you’d still find the trademark RPG elements, such as magic and various weapon types. However, they are introduced in a way that they wouldn’t be tiring even after 50+ hours of gameplay.
The Soundtrack That Sticks with You
Look no further than the Persona series to prove how a great soundtrack can elevate a great JRPG to a legendary one. The songs used in those games stick with you even after you shut down the game itself. Some of us even include game OSTs on our playlists non ironically. That is how exceptional the soundtrack of any great JRPG should be.
The Wonderful Storytelling and World Building
Great JRPGs tell stories that transcend the limitations of the screen. You will feel each hardship the main characters go through. You will be delighted just the same once they reach their goals. These feelings should translate seamlessly as you hold your controller in the comfort of your home. That is how great games manage to tell their stories, and great JRPGs are the same.
Furthermore, several successful JRPGs also employ a unique setting. If not the world of TVs in Persona 4, it is the brain-punk futuristic Japan of Scarlet Nexus. Great JRPGs draw players in using these memorable settings by making them want to discover more about them. And admit it, we’d be more than content to do just that.